As a freelance musician, I’ve played hundreds of weddings. And let me tell you, Catholic weddings are looooong! Very long. I knew this. So I’m not sure what drug I was on when I decided to drink a nice, cold 44 oz. Diet Coke on my way to a Catholic wedding.

This wedding was gorgeous—the whole wedding party was decked out. We’re talking a Ring Boy, a Flower Girl, an actual Baroque Trumpeter for the Trumpet Voluntary—this large Catholic church must have been packed with more than 600 guests.

I started to feel a little pressure on my bladder during the Trumpet Voluntary. I know by now that when that pressure starts, I’ve got about a half hour before I will be absolutely desperate, and 45 minutes before I’m in danger of peeing my pants.

So I started looking around for a discrete exit where I could go do my business during one of the scripture readings. To my horror, I started to realize that the only exit was at the back of the chapel, where I would have to stroll conspicuously all the way from the choir seating down the CENTER AISLE, through all 600 guests to get out to a restroom. I didn’t want to do something that would make the string quartet look bad, because this was a new quartet that I really wanted to play more gigs with.

I looked at the program and had to disguise my panic as I realized we were not even a quarter way through this wedding!

I would just have to hold it and hope my bladder would cooperate. Well, one scripture reading, a congregational song, and Pachelbel Canon later, I knew I would never be able to make it through the vows, which were still at least 30 minutes down the line.

By now, I was at the desperate stage, physically crossing my legs and loosening my pants to alleviate pressure.

I desperately searched the room, and finally realized….I’m in the choir seating! Surely a church this size has a warm-up room for the choir. I looked behind me and saw a set of double doors.

Ahhh! An alternate restroom! I held it through Panis Angelicus, pushing the tenor just a little faster than normal, then I calmly set my violin down and cool as a cucumber, walked to the back of the choir seating and through the doors.

It was a big room, even had a coffee station with the nice vacuum-pump coffee caraffs….but….NO RESTROOM!!! I circled the room three times hoping a magic door would appear. By now, I was ready to burst, and I only had about 3 minutes before we had to play our next tune.

My desperate eyes finally settled on the coffee station….and the styrofoam cups next to it. (Hey, until you’ve been in the same situation don’t say you wouldn’t have the same thought.) After choking down the last ounce of dignity I had before this fateful day, I grabbed three cups. They don’t hold much.

I stooped behind a big indoor plant for some privacy, and began. It was hard to control the splash back, but I managed to keep it to a minimum. My estimation was correct….I filled all three coffee cups. Ah…sweet relief.

I had about one minute left before we had to play, I was sure the quartet was getting nervous….but I was now stuck with 3 cups full of biohazard! I couldn’t just LEAVE it…..and there wasn’t even a drinking fountain or sink in the room. I call this POOR PLANNING! Who designs these places, anyway? Monks who never have to pee!??

I went back to my friend, the plant, hesitated for about 1 second, then dumped all three cups into the planter, tossed the cups in the garbage, and got back in my seat with 30 seconds to spare before playing “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.”

But deep inside, there was no joy. I felt I had committed a crime against nature, and took my own vow that day: No More Diet Coke Before Catholic Weddings!